VL3 parts, GKNUK/Germany – The component manufacturer says its lightweight VL3 constant velocity joint (CVJ) enables rear-wheel drive platforms to save more than 4kg of weight. The product is being made in four sizes.

According to Karl Berger, senior director, product technology of constant velocity joints, the VL3 raises the technology to a new level: “We have developed a CVJ that is lighter, more efficient, stronger and delivers more torque in smaller packaging”. GKN says it boosts torque capacity by up to 27% with no increase in packaging size; alternatively, the torque can be maintained while packaging is reduced by around 10%.

The VL3 has a plunging distance of 18mm, and GKN claims it is the “best choice” for a rear, constant-velocity sideshaft for medium working angles with low axial forces, and that it generates “minimum backlash”. The VL3 uses a monobloc tubular shaft and face spline connection to the wheel hub to achieve packaging, weight, and noise, vibration and harshness benefits.

GKN developed the countertrack principal on fixed joints from 2009 onwards, and the VL3 represents the next step by introducing the technology on a rear sideshaft. Its innovative track geometry has four pairs of opposed ball tracks instead of three, enabling greater transmission of torque to the wheels in the same packaging space. A diaphragm boot sealing system in place of a standard boot and cap helps to reduce axial packaging, grease volume and weight.

“These latest innovations [in CV joints] offer improvements in every area of importance for automakers, including strength, endurance, efficiency and weight, helping to produce a dynamic driving performance and optimising power delivery from the engine to the wheels,” commented Berger. “We have also minimised backlash, which leads to a refined driving experience.”